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St Helen’s Primary look to raise £17,000 for big swimming pool revamp

St Helen's Primary School pupils Elizabeth, Kye, Esme and Robyn take a break by the pool. Picture: ADAM HOWLETT

St Helen's Primary School pupils Elizabeth, Kye, Esme and Robyn take a break by the pool. Picture: ADAM HOWLETT

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Students, staff and parents at St Helen’s Primary School in Ipswich are raising money to save its swimming pool - and are hosting an event marking International Day next month to help reach their target.

The official opening of St Helen's Primary School Swimming Pool in 1977 Picture: IVAN SMITHThe official opening of St Helen's Primary School Swimming Pool in 1977 Picture: IVAN SMITH

Before Christmas the pupils were told their beloved pool, in the basement of the building, would have to close in September unless £17,000 was raised to repair and update the facility.

Staff, pupils and the PTA immediately sprang into action, looking for ways to raise the cash.

So far they have managed to raise more than £10,000 towards their target, and hope the school’s International Day celebration on Saturday, June 30, will help raise even more.

With 63% of pupils using English as a second language, the school looks to celebrate its diversity - and is inviting the public to come and enjoy it with them. A host of entertainment will be taking place, including the school’s choir singing songs from around the world, a Bollywood dance group and African drumming from DanceEast.

Pupils take the punge at the official opening of St Helens Primary School Swimming Pool in 1977 Picture: IVAN SMITHPupils take the punge at the official opening of St Helens Primary School Swimming Pool in 1977 Picture: IVAN SMITH

The swimming pool will be open at the event for people to have a look around and the school’s PTA are looking for former pupils to contribute to show the importance of the pool to the pupils.

Juliette Lobley, PTA chair, said: “Being a town centre school there’s not a large amount of outside green space. Having a swimming pool is really important for health and exercise.

“We have a very diverse community where a lot of children would not learn to swim if it were not for the pool.

She added: “We would love any former pupils from St Helen’s to get in touch to share memories or photos of the school swimming pool. Since it was opened in 1975, thousands of children will have learnt to swim in the school pool, providing them with a valuable life skill as well as exercise at a school whose town centre location means the children have limited outdoor space for sport and recreation.”

Pupils have a splash in St Helen's Primary School's swimming pool in 1977 Picture: IVAN SMITHPupils have a splash in St Helen's Primary School's swimming pool in 1977 Picture: IVAN SMITH

Headteacher Kate Hodgetts added: “St Helen’s serves a very diverse catchment area with over 30 different languages spoken amongst our current cohort of pupils.

“Keeping the swimming pool open is essential to our values of inclusion and equality of opportunity. Without access to swimming lessons at school many of our pupils simply would not learn to swim.”

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